Blizzard’s annual conference, BlizzCon, happened this past weekend, where the videogame company got to show off all of its big news with its fans in an Anaheim, California. Naturally, they share a whole lot of interesting things, and we have a roundup below of the most pertinent bits for your reading and viewing pleasure.
Undoubtedly the biggest news from the conference was the announcement of Overwatch, a multiplayer shooter that is, in effect, Blizzard’s first brand-new intellectual property in 17 years. The trailer does a great job of showing off the game’s cartoon style and sense of humour; I love the guard playing Hearthstone at 2:57.
Overwatch is a team-based shooter starring various superpower-wielding heroes that are all of Blizzard’s own design. No crossovers from other games here, this is all brand-spanking-new. It looks a bit Team-Fortress-2-meets-unique-animation-style, and I must say I’m looking forward to giving it a try, whenever it comes out.
Check out the game’s (amazing-looking) official site for even more info.
Warlords of Draenor, the next World of Warcraft expansion is out this week, but the bigger news out of BlizzCon was details on the March 2016 Warcraft movie, including a full cast list. Attendees were shown a trailer, which Gamespot said “nailed the look and feel of the Warcraft universe”. Unfortunately that trailer hasn’t yet been released for general consumption.
Just as unfortunately, nothing was said of Warcraft 4, either. I think that game is more than overdue at this point, but I trust Blizzard’s judgement. For now.
Heroes of the Storm
This massively online battle arena has been in the works at Blizzard for a while now – presumably to take on the likes of DOTA 2 and League of Legends at their own game, Blizzard-style – and it emerged at BlizzCon that the game is getting a closed Beta test on January 13, 2015 which is open for sign-ups.
The Diablo III panel revealed a lot of mind-bending news about the upcoming 2.1.2 patch, which promises to sort out a bunch of issues raised by patch 2.1 that came out earlier this year, like balancing Greater Rifts to make sure random events don’t completely scupper players’ chances of finishing them in time.
It will also add new creatures, weapons and armour, including new Treasure Goblins that drop more than just gold – there will be a Gem Hoarder that drops gems, a Blood Thief that drops Blood Shards and one called the Odius Collector that drops crafting materials.
In true Blizzard style, they said only that it will be “coming soon”, which as we all know could mean anything from a month to a year before the patch is out.
Not only will we be getting the last StarCraft II expansion next year, but it will be a standalone game that doesn’t require the StarCraft II base game to play.
Called Legacy of the Void, it stars Protoss Hierarch Artanis, and follows his story as he fights to reclaim the Protoss homeworld, an objective that means the survival of the Protoss race, and its extinction should it fail.
So the stakes are high for the last game in the SC2 series, but Blizzard assured fans at BlizzCon that it won’t be the end of StarCraft.
Blizzard’s card-combat game is getting its first expansion. Called Goblins vs, Gnomes, it adds over 120 cards to Hearthstone’s decks that feature the clever but crazy inventors of the Warcraft universe.
Expect cards like the “Explosive Sheep” and the “Annoy-o-tron” to make an appearance and liven up your games, and a brand-new board on which to play.
Joystiq says the expansion is “in a final balance pass” ahead of its launch in December. Also, the game is finally coming to Android phones and tablets next month, granting Hearthstone access to a potentially huge new audience.
Watch the trailer and try not to grin; it may not say much about the game, but it certainly speaks to the humour Blizzard is infusing into the expansion.